Belarus Bells Ring for Sri Lanka!

In the aftermath of the successful Lanka-Belarus Trade talks on 09 July in Colombo, comes the first ever trade breakthrough, as revealed on 11 December- and the first beneficiary of Belarus’ is no less than Lankan exporter. “Our Joint Commission talks in July have brought results. I welcome the Government of Belarus’s initiative to remove Sri Lanka from the list of off-shore countries with effect from this November” said Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka) on 11 December in Qatar.

Minister Bathiudeen was responding to the latest developments in Lanka-Belarus Bilateral Trade from Qatar on 11 December. Minister Bathiudeen is currently on a private tour to Qatar.

“Our Joint Commission talks in July have brought results. I welcome the Government of Belarus’s initiative to remove Sri Lanka from the list of off-shore countries with effect from this November” said Minister Bathiudeen, and added: “On behalf of our exporters I thank HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government of Belarus for this joint initiative to support our exporters.”

In that, according to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka (DoCSL), the Government of Belarus has removed Sri Lanka from the list of its off-shore countries with effect from 26 November 2014. The direct benefit of this delisting is that Lankan exporters will no longer be subject to the payment of 15% tax on remittance of their export earnings back to Sri Lanka.

Belarus ranked as the 77 export destination of Sri Lanka in 2013, and it has progressed from its lower rank at 81 (2011). Less than 1% (0.05%) of our total exports are taken by Belarus. This shows that Belarus is still a virgin market for Sri Lanka with unrealised potentials. As for Lanka’s bilateral trade, total trade reported at $14.24 Mn in 2013. 94% of Sri Lanka’s exports to Belarus are tea.

Following the visit of H.E. the president of Sri Lanka to Belarus in August 2013, a Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation was established and its first meeting was held in July 2014 in Colombo, where the Sri Lanka’s request on this was conveyed to the representatives of the Government of Belarus.

Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce-left) greets (H.E) Valentin B. Rybakov (Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus-centre) as (HE) Vitaly Prima (Delhi based Belarus Ambassador for Sri Lanka-right) looks on just prior to the commencement of July 09 Trade Talks in Colombo.